my soul is wrought to sing of forms transformed

to bodies new and strange! immortal goddess

inspire my heart, for you have changed yourselves

and all things you have changed! oh lead my divine song

in smooth and measured strains, from olden days

when earth began to this completed time!

all men work to maintain the things that they have

a price is paid for every pleasure enjoyed

before the ocean and the earth appeared

before the skies had overspread them all

the face of nature in a vast expanse

was naught but chaos uniformly waste

it was a rude and undeveloped mass

that nothing made except a ponderous weight

and all discordant elements confused

were there congested in a shapeless heap

as yet the sun afforded earth no light

nor did the moon renew her crescent horns

the earth was not suspended in the air

exactly balanced by her heavy weight

not far along the margin of the shores

had amphitrite stretched her lengthened arms

for all the land was mixed with sea and air

the land was soft the sea unfit to sail

the atmosphere opaque, to naught was given

a proper form, in everything was strife,

and all was mingled in a seething mass-

with hot the cold parts strove, and wet with dry

and soft with hard, and weight with empty void.

but goddess, or kindly nature, ended strife-

she cut the land from skies, the sea from land,

the heavens ethereal from material air;

and when were all evolved from that dark mass

she bound the fractious parts in tranquil peace.

the fiery element of convex heaven,

leaped from the mass devoid of holding weight,

and chose the summit arch to which the air

as next in quality was next in place

and so nature all things obeyed.

the earth more dense attracted grosser parts

and moved by gravity sank underneath;

what you are seeking will be before your feet

the mind’s capacity is determined by the body’s ability

and last of all the wide surrounding waves

in deeper channels rolled around the earth

and when this goddess, which one yet is unknown,

had carved asunder that discordant mass,

had thus reduced it to its elements,

that every part should equally combine,

when time began she round out the earth’s arch

and moulded it to form a mighty firmament.

then she poured forth the deeps and gave command

that they should billow in the rapid winds,

that they should encompass every shore of earth.

she also added fountains, pools and lakes,

and bound with shelving banks the slanting streams,

which partly are absorbed and partly join

the boundless ocean. thus received amid

the wide expanse of uncontrolled waves,

they beat the shores instead of crooked banks.

at her command the boundless plains extend,

the valleys are depressed, the woods are clothed

in green, the stony mountains rise. and as

the heavens are intersected on the right

by two broad zones, by two that cut the left

and by a fifth consumed with ardent heat,

with such a number did the careful goddess,

mark off the compassed weight, and thus the earth

receives as many climes. such heat consumes

the middle zone that none may dwell therein;

and two extremes are covered with deep snow;

and two are placed betwixt the hot and cold,

which mixed together give a temperate clime;

and over all the atmosphere suspends

with weight proportioned to the fiery sky,

exactly as the weight of the earth compares

with weight of water.

and thus water consumes all things.

all in nature is immortal,

do not fear abundance.

Michelangelo_Angeli_con_gli_strumenti_della_Passione_lunetta_sinistra

 

 

 

 

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